The Honda Odyssey is considered by many vehicle enthusiasts as the pinnacle of the minivans. It is among the best Honda vehicles, with substantial seating that can accommodate eight passengers, including the driver. Moreover, the cargo bay is large enough to fit several large items.
Honda Odyssey spans over five generations ever since its debut in 1995. The vehicle started with 2.2 L inline-four VTEC engines, later upgraded to V-6 engines to the currently powerful 240 hp engines. The minivan is an award winner with various recognitions and awards like the Consumer Report’s “Top Pick Minivan.”
Below are the best years of the Honda Odyssey lineup:
- 2016 to present
Like most vehicles, Honda Odyssey has many flaws, including transmission problems and braking issues. Here is a list of years to avoid:
Honda Odyssey Years to Avoid
The Odyssey lineup has gone through a rough patch in recent years, with many recalls being issued by the NHTSA. 2018 – 2019 Odyssey recall is one of the most notable ones despite the vehicles being some of the most reliable today.
Honda Odyssey Generations:
- First Generation: 1995-1998.
- Second Generation: 1999-2004.
- Third Generation: 2005-2010.
- Fourth Generation: 2011-2017.
- Fifth Generation: 2018-present.
Year to Avoid: 1999 – 2001
The second generation of Honda Odyssey vehicles began in 1999. It came with a new five-speed transmission, but the overall design remained the same. Performance was increased significantly with the help of a 3.5-liter engine.
The size increased, and the door design became sliding rather than a hinged door. However, the four-speed and five-speed transmission models did not lack their faults. Customers reported many issues with the transmissions, especially after 100,000 miles. Unfortunately, most Honda Odyssey vehicles are rated for about 200,000 miles, making these model years a bad purchase.
The transmission issues ranged from rough shifting and other problems like transmission solenoid valve failure in the 1999 model. The transmission also slipped in many vehicles resulting in repairs that cost about $3,300.
2000 Honda Odyssey received a recall in 2020 for airbag inflator issues. The problem statement stated that the airbag was underinflated, which means it won’t protect the vehicle occupants properly. This may result in inflator rupture, causing metal fragments to hit the vehicle occupants.
Minor issues like CEL staying on, Traction Control Warning light malfunctions, and peeling paint also plagued these minivans.
- Transmission failures
- Slipping transmission
- Rough shifting
- Airbag issues
Year to Avoid: 2002 – 2003
The 2002 and 2003 Honda Odyssey had the transmission issues like its predecessors. Unfortunately, Honda did not learn from its past problems and seemed to take little effort into addressing them in these models. As a result, the model’s sales declined to an all-time low in 2002.
Airbag inflator issues were still present in these models. The high risk of the explosion makes these two years a must avoid as they can injure the passengers and driver in case of an accident. Some owners reported that the transmission started failing as early as 10,000 miles.
A major issue with the transmission system was the rattling and squeaking noises from the section. In addition, customers reported banging noises when shifting gears. The repairs for these issues are pretty expensive, exceedingly more than $3100. Moreover, other customers reported the transmission disengaging on a regular occasion.
- Transmission slips
- Rough shifting
- Transmission system noises
- Airbag issues
Year to Avoid: 2004
The 2004 Honda Odyssey had the same transmission failures as its predecessors. Most of the car complaints reported the issue starting at about 117,000 miles. Transmission fluid leaks in this model were too high not to notice.
TSC and check engine lights frequently followed most of the transmission issues. The issue would escalate as the vehicle went past 100,000 miles. A good number of customers reported complete failure of the transmission at around 130,000 to 140,000 miles.
Minor issues of the 2004 Odyssey included peeling paint that cost around $1,600. Peeling starts even before the warranty expires and rapidly wears off afterward. Remember that Honda made a recall for this issue, but it only applies to dark blue Honda Odysseys as per the service bulletin. Check with the company before purchasing the used vehicle.
- Peeling Paint
- Transmission issues
- Broken window regulators
Year to Avoid:2005 – 2008
The 2005 Odyssey received the most complaints, according to CarComplaints.com. Road debris easily damaged the air conditioning condenser, making this its most reported issue. The issue is common in vehicles that have covered over 40,000 miles.
Transmission failures still afflicted the Honda Odyssey in 2005. The minivans started experiencing the issues as early as 86, 000 miles. Most common solutions to the transmission issues involved a complete part replacement or a rebuild of the entire transmission. Transmission replacement can set you back about $4,500.
Gears would slip into neutral while driving, and drivers noticed transmission shutters at about 35 to 45 miles per hour when shifting. Another major issue involves spark plug blowouts. This is a serious issue that would undoubtedly cause an accident and expensive repairs. One customer reported that the spark plugs got dismantled and hit the engine bay, causing several dents.
2006 and 2007 models did not make good on many changes as there began to have steering issues like stiffness and excessive steering wheel vibrations. Transmission problems were still present, starting at about 90,000 – 100,000 miles. Other issues were noticed at this mile range like paint peeling, bubbling, and chipping.
- Transmission failures
- Paint peeling
- Noisy transmission
- Stiff steering wheels
Year to Avoid: 2014
2014 Honda Odyssey saw the recall of various cars for having unsecured seats and faulty transmission systems. The second-row seats received the most complaints since a good number failed to latch securely. Braking problems were other serious issues of this car, making up about 25% of NHTSA 2014 Odyssey complaints.
- Transmission failures
- Unsecured seating
- Braking issues
Honda Odyssey Best Years to Buy Used
Below are the best years of Honda Odyssey that you should consider when buying a used one.
Honda Odyssey Best Years: 1995-1998
Surprisingly, these over 20 years of Odysseys show few complaints and hold their value well. These vehicles are known for their reliability and durability, making them excellent choices. A 20+ years Odyssey can be as low as $2,000, which is good if the vehicle is in good condition and well maintained.
Honda Odyssey Best Year: 2016
By the time 2016 arrived, Honda had fixed many issues on its Odyssey lineup. As a result, the vehicles experienced fewer transmission problems and were more reliable. 2016 Honda Odyssey has a reliability score of 4 out of five according to Consumer Reports, making it Odyssey’s best year. The reported issues with the vehicle are minor, from check engine light malfunctions to having uncomfortable seats.
- Powerful engine
- Most reported issues are minor, like CEL problems
Honda Odyssey Best Year: 2017 – Present
2016 had fewer issues, but in 2017, all issues disappeared out of sight. 2017 marked the first year the Honda Odyssey received zero transmission issues. The vehicle has a considerable life expectancy as it is rated to last for more than 250,000 miles without any issues.
Newer models since 2017 have kept up the reputation of the brand model to date. This lineup is filled with vehicles that won’t cause you any significant issues before 100,000 miles like the predecessors.
- Improved gas mileage
- Increased life span
- Reliable transmission
What to Check when buying a used Honda Odyssey
Here are the factors to check when getting a sued Honda Odyssey:
When purchasing a Honda Odyssey model or any used car, the first thing to check is the vehicle recall. The vehicle’s recall history can be found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.
Recall lists indicate the major issues that the vehicle experienced that mandated the model to be flagged for potential and severe issues. All of the issues on the list are major, which can endanger the driver and the passenger’s life.
Transmission failures are prone in Honda Odysseys before 2016. The issues range from rough shifting to complete transmission failures. Repair to this issue is expensive and will typically require removing the entire part.
Steering Wheel issue
This is specifically for the 2006 and 2007 models that experienced many stiffnesses and vibration issues on the steering mechanism. Of course, driving on rough roads will make the situation worse.
Which used Honda Odyssey is the best value for money?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as the best value for money will depend on several factors, such as your budget, driving needs, and preferences.
However, some of the best years to consider when looking for a used Honda Odyssey are 1995-1998. These were the first generation of the popular minivan and are still reliable but more affordable than some newer models.
In addition, these years typically feature desirable features like safety technologies like anti-lock brakes and airbags, leather seats for added comfort, and power sliding doors for easy access. So if you’re looking for an affordable family vehicle that is built to last, a used Honda Odyssey from 1995-1998 could be just what you need.
What are the most common problems with Honda Odyssey?
As you can tell from the Honda Odyssey years to avoid above, the most common issues include braking failures and transmission problems. Braking issues pose a huge safety challenge as most of the Odyssey issues involve brakes that cannot work after pumping.
The great recall of 2019 saw that the models with faulty airbag inflators were addressed. This is a common issue for most vehicles, including other Honda models. Models from 2004 to 2010 of the Odyssey were also filled with window and sliding door issues. It is also essential to look out for internal problems like uncomfortable seats and interior spacing.
What years did Honda Odyssey have transmission problems?
2019 and 2018 Honda Odyssey famously faced a class-action lawsuit that pertained to its nine-speed automatic transmission. The transmission issues included rough shifting, delayed/unresponsive shifting, and noises from the transmission bay.